Real Madrid 'confident about what we're doing' - Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has admitted that outsiders might have doubts about his team's current form, but he and his players have full confidence in what they are doing.
Last season's La Liga and Champions League winners Madrid have started the season below-par, already dropping seven points behind early league leaders Barcelona, with superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale struggling for their best form.
However Zidane told the news conference ahead of Tuesday's Champions League Group H game at Borussia Dortmund that he was not worried about his team's state of mind even though they had not not impressed in winning 2-1 at La Liga's bottom side Alaves on Saturday.
"I don't believe we have lost confidence," the Los Blancos coach said. "We are confident about what we are doing. It is true that outsiders might have doubts, but not us. Every year this gets more difficult.
"If we are not brilliant sometimes, this can happen. But I am not worried about how we will play this year. La Liga is the most difficult league, I watch European football, and the games are not as difficult as in Spain. For us the difficulty is to maintain that high level over the season."
With Madrid having kept just one clean sheet in six La Liga games this season, Zidane denied that the team's tendency to give opponents chances to score was a concern given Dortmund have found the net 19 times in the Bundesliga already and beat Borussia Monchengladbach 6-1 at the weekend.
"This will happen, opposition teams will cause you problems," he said. "What we are concerned about is playing well, good football. If you do that then you create chances. [Dortmund] will try and cause us problems, but we will try and deal with their attacks."
Midfielder Toni Kroos missed Saturday's game at Alaves with a rib problem, but Zidane said the Germany international would have a chance to prove his fitness at Monday evening's training session in Dortmund.
"Toni Kroos is here with us, that means he is okay," he said. "We will see at the last training session today. We know how important Toni is for our team."
Madrid have never won at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion, drawing three and losing three of their six visits. Zidane said his team would see winning at the historic ground as a challenge to take on.
"It is difficult to play everywhere," he said. "But it's true that we have never won here, that is a challenge for us. When we go onto the pitch we aim to win the game. This is a real football stadium, where you breathe in the Champions League, and we like that."
Dortmund attacking midfielder Mario Gotze told a prematch press conference: "There have been some great games against Real Madrid -- both at home and away.
"Real have played very well for the last two years, but it's a new season and we are also confident.
"Statistics will not help us but we know we are strong here at home."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan